Biga (pre-ferment for Italian bread)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups Unbleached bread flour
1/2 teaspoon Instant yeast
1 cup Water, At room temperature

Directions:

1. Mix flour and yeast in a large bowl. Add water and stir till everything comes together in a coarse ball. If needed adjust the flour and water, the dough should be neither too sticky or too stiff.

2. Sprinkle flour onto a work surface and transfer the dough onto the floured surface. Knead for 4 to 6 minutes or for 4 minutes at medium speed with a dough hook if using an electrical mixer. The dough should be soft and pliable and the internal temperature should be 25 and 27℃.

3. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the oiled bowl. Roll the dough around until all surface areas are coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours. It should double in size.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it lightly to degass, then return it to the bowl, covering once more with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator overnight. It will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator and if frozen in an airtight bag, your bigs will keep for about 3 months. On baking day, remove the biga from the fridge or refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.

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